Getting the Most Out of Your Stencils: Creative Ideas for Use and How to Care for Them

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Stenciling is a fun and easy way to add interest to any paint finish.  Once you get the basics down, you can create a number of vastly different stenciled finishes on furniture, home accessories and just about anything else!  In this post we will cover the basics of stenciling, look at some creative ways to use your stencils and talk about how to care for them in between projects.

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A good stenciled surface starts with the right tools.  Stencil brushes are generally round and have compact bristles.  Artisan Enhancements has a reasonably priced set of quality stencil brushes in three sizes that are ideal for most stenciling projects.


Once you have decided where you want your stenciled design on your project surface, use a couple of small pieces of painter’s tape to keep your stencil in place while you work.

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The new Rosy Vine stencil from Artisan Enhancements is elegant and versatile.  Here Versailles, Antoinette and a mix of Antoinette and Old White were chosen to create a stenciled finish on a small table-top previously painted in Paris Grey.

 

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The key to avoiding bleed through in your stencil design is off-loading your brush before getting started.  Dip your stencil brush into your paint and then immediately dab the excess paint off onto a cloth or paper towel.  At this point you can either stipple or brush the paint over top of the stencil.  Be sure to off-load your brush each time you dip it into your paint.

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Consider using more than one color in your stencil design to add complexity and depth to your finish.  Colors can even be blended right on your stencil, creating an organic and artistic look to your project.

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Once you have finished stenciling your design, lift the stencil straight up off of your project’s surface.

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If you wish to continue the design beyond the area covered by the stencil, wait until the paint has dried completely before laying your stencil back down.  Most stencils with a repeating pattern are designed in a way that the stencil can easily be continued over a large surface area.

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In most cases, the easiest way to clean your stencil is with a damp kitchen sponge.  If the paint is too dry, a scouring pad works well, just be careful not to harm your stencil by bending any of the delicate pieces.

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For a softer, more natural stenciled effect, lightly sand your stenciled surface with a fine grit sanding sponge once the paint has dried completely.

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Always seal your stencil finish for durability.  Artisan Enhancements Clear Topcoat Sealer is quick and easy to apply.  A natural sealer with no VOCs, Clear Topcoat offers a water resistant, matte finish with great protection for your stenciled pieces.

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Consider layering stencils for a complex, artistic look.  Here the Artisan Enhancements Script Stencil was stippled on in Paris Grey over a Versailles Background.  The Versailles Ornament stencil was then applied in Old White all over the small table-top, starting off-centered and sometimes using only part of the stencil design, resulting in a lace-like design.

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Stencils should be stored flat, not folded or bent in any way.  Tiered skirt hangers work great for organizing larger stencils that won’t fit easily in a drawer or folder.  They can then be tucked away at one end of your closet when not in use.

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Take a look at Artisan Enhancement’s growing selection of decorative mylar stencils in current and trending designs, and consider the versatility of their use.  Create an allover pattern on a table-top or drawer front.  Layer different stencils in contrasting paint colors.  Try using a few different colors at once, freely mixing and alternating as you stencil, and then sand back your stenciled design for a muted, natural and worn look.  Watch for upcoming posts on how to create a raised stencil relief using Artisan Enhancements VP Antico, Pearl Plaster and Fine Stone products!

We hope you enjoy these ideas and tips for getting the most use out of your stencils.  The possibilities are endless!  Have fun!

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